As spring transitions into summer, the school year quickly comes to a close. The welcoming of warm weather this time of the year often includes end of year parties and school dances.
Along with the sweet smells of summer, young love, or rather like is also in the air. Yes tis’ the season for teen dating and for many parents: feelings of terror.
Your baby is growing up, the only thing you can do now is to have ‘the dating talk,’ but what should you say?
You think back carefully to the wonderful pearls of wisdom your own parents may have bestowed upon you, unfortunately, you come up blank!
Besides, back then things didn’t seem so complicated. There were less things to do and frankly you don’t remember growing up quite as quickly.
There was no texting or IM-ing you flirted the old fashioned way, through handwritten notes which said things such as : “DO YOU LIKE ME? Check: YES__ or NO__.”
Well, although things may seem more confusing and convoluted, the good news is that the basic concerns remain the same. Still confused about what to say? Here are some hints:
1. Discuss details. Although your teen may seem annoyed or maybe even anxious when you ask, it is of course important to be aware of the game plan. The exercise of walking through the date will not only help you gather information but it may put your teen more at ease. Events which are structured and predictable create calm and confidence. The more your teen talks about it, the clearer the picture of the night will become.
2. Emphasize expectations. Be clear with your teen about the essential elements you expect from him in regards to behavior. You can help your teen feel more confident and empowered when you discuss this as if you assume he already knows what to do and how to act. Chivalry is not dead, unless you allow it to be. Talk with your teen about proper manners.
3. Broach boundaries. A quick conversation about avoiding peer pressure is a must. Although your teen may just roll her eyes when you remind her, reinforce her right to keep it real. In other words, let her know that if it doesn’t feel or sound right it isn’t. She can and should ‘just say no’ no matter what the circumstance. If for example there is an after dance party that includes alcohol or drugs, she should let her date know it is time to go.
4. Create a code. If you haven’t already, make sure that you and your teen come up with a word or phrase she can text or say to you on the phone which means, “come get me now.” Although chances are she will not have to use this, knowing the code exists will make you both feel better.
5. You don’t have to like his date, after all, you are not the one dating her. Think back to your own youth and you will probably remember, you dated a lot of frogs before you found your prince. Unless you have legitimate safety concerns regarding your teen’s date (e.g. too old) you are best served keeping negative opinions to yourself. We all remember Romeo & Juliet.
6. Relax. Your teen is well equipped with the values you have instilled in her.
Time flies so fast. In the blink of an eye he will be all grown up. Savor the seconds and enjoy is increasing autonomy and independence.
More from GalTime:
- I Think My Son's a Pick-Up Artist
- Nice Girls Finish First... Eventually
- Sexting: You Can Do Something About It
- Is Your Teen Having Sex? Surprising New Survey
Jennifer Powell-Lunder and Barbara Greenberg are authors of the hit book, "Teenage as a Second Language: A Parent's Guide to Becoming Bilingual." They've set up an interactive website for parents and teens to listen, learn and discuss hot topics and daily dilemmas. You can find it at www.talkingteenage.com.